Virat Kohli wants clarity about T20 World Cup spot, selectors say ‘open with Rohit Sharma’: Report | Crickit
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Virat Kohli wants clarity about T20 World Cup spot, selectors say ‘open with Rohit Sharma’: Report

Apr 17, 2024 11:03 AM IST

Virat Kohli reportedly wanted clarity from the selection committee about his place in India's T20 World Cup squad and they came up with the opening gambit.

Don't be surprised if you see Virat Kohli walk out to open the batting with Rohit Sharma in the T20 World Cup in June in the USA and West Indies. The Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee is reportedly keen on having Kohli as Rohit's opening partner for the world event. According to a report in Dainik Jagran, the possibility of having Kohli as an opener was discussed seriously in a meeting held in Mumbai last week where captain Rohit, head coach Rahul Dravid and chief sector Ajit Agarkar were present.

India captain Rohit Sharma Virat Kohli (front)(AFP)
India captain Rohit Sharma Virat Kohli (front)(AFP)

There has been a lot of speculation about Kohli's spot in India's T20 World Cup squad which is slated to be announced in a fortnight but all the doubts have reportedly been put to rest. Kohli's place in the T20 side was not certain when Rohit, Dravid and the selectors met after the ODI World Cup last year. But a lot has changed in the last few months.

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Kohli made himself available for the Afghanistan home series. He and Rohit returned to the T20I for the first time in nearly two years. He batted at his preferred No.3 slot in the two matches that he played with Yashasvi Jaiswal opening the batting with Rohit. But in the upcoming edition of the T20 World Cup, that might change.

The Jagran report adds that Kohli wanted clarity from the selection committee about his place in the T20 World Cup and they came up with the opening gambit.

Kohli has been opening regularly for the Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the last few seasons of IPL. He is currently the Orange Cap holder with 361 runs in seven matches at a strike rate of 147. He has already notched up a century.

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Virat Kohli's numbers as opener

It's not like Kohli hasn't done it in international cricket. In fact, he started his international career as an opener in ODIs against Sri Lanka in 2008. Gradually, he shifted to the No.3 slot and made it his own. He has a pretty good record as an opener in T20Is. In 9 matches, the former India captain has scored 400 runs at an average of 57, which is higher than his career T20I average of 51.

Moreover, Kohli's strike rate jumps from 138 to 161 when he opens the batting in this format. His only T20I century, which is also the highest individual score by an Indian in the shortest format, came while opening the batting against Afghanistan in Asia Cup 2022.

The only time Kohli opened with Rohit, India put on 224 runs on the board against England with the opening partnership being 94 in 9 overs. Kohli top-scored for India with 80 off 52 balls while Rohit smashed a whirlwind 64 off 34 balls.

Yashasvi Jaiswal will have to sit out of Kohli opens with Rohit

If Kohli does open with Rohit in the T20 World Cup then it will open up a spot in India's middle-order for power hitters like Rinku Singh, Shivam Dube or Riyan Parag who can take the attack to the opposition after the powerplay. Suryakumar Yadav then can come in at No.3 and have more deliveries to leave a bigger impact on the game.

However, this would also mean that Yashasvi Jaiswal will have to sit out. The selectors are in fact slightly keen on taking Shubman Gill as the backup opener mainly due to his IPL returns. Before the 17th edition began, Jaiswal was the frontrunner to grab the opener's spot but things have tilted towards the GT captain a bit after the first few matches of IPL. Jaiswal hasn't quite been able to get the ball rolling but Gill has been consistent. But the fact that Jaiswal is a left-hander, might go in his favour.

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